KODIAK -

There's no shortage of opportunities for the 2,500 students in the Kodiak Island Borough School District, and the district does what it can to make sure every student starts off strong

From fulfilling aspirations to create chemical solutions, cruise in the schools K Hi-C fishing vessel, or be a part of construction projects, for certified welder Hannah Christian, she's getting the best of both worlds. 

Christian wants to study fisheries in college, but says because of her opportunities in high school, she could work as a welder right now.

"If you want to learn cooking, you can learn cooking. If you want to weld, you can weld. If you want to do English, there (are) all sorts of AP classes,” she said. “We are really good of having a little bit of everything.”

In a district that has limited access to the rest of the world, the challenge is figuring out how to make sure all students are exposed to the same courses, no matter if they live on the island or in one the district’s seven remote villages.

Having top notch technology like online learning classrooms and double robotics is part of the daily schedule.

"I can't depend on that airplane, and I can't depend on the ferry," said Stewart McDonald, the superintendent of the Kodiak Island Borough School District. 

"Through video teleconferences, aligning everybody's schedule, we have students now actually in pre-calculus in our rural sites. They are taking chemistry." 

It's what McDonald says is the push to close the gap, by building a system so students can see themselves in a world of work after high school.

"We are having the largest number of our students passing those Accuplacer tests, and ready for their college level classes, because they are being challenged," he said.

"We have to first convince students that they are more than capable of college, they are worthy of college, but they are also capable of learning anything technical." 

Choices within choices that are the starting point for students in Kodiak down a road to lifelong success.

McDonald said facing the type of challenges his district faces, many of the students are walking out of high school with certificates to work right away, or ready to take college-level classes.